I'm not really sure where to start with this, I rarely seek advice and never here before, but I'm so wound out I simply do not know what to do. Something very unusual for me.
This may be lengthy, please accept apologies in advance.
Where to start? I guess with the fact that my sister is bipolor. At 19 she had an out of wedlock child who was only 27 weeks gestation, 1 lb. 9 oz. He spent nearly four months in the hospital, many, many close calls. I was at the tale end of nursing school at the time. I was staying at my mom's house with my two children who were young then because my then husband was in the service and stationed elsewhere waiting to find out if he was going to the Gulf War. My sister was also living at home. My parents and myself did everything we could to help her, but she would run all over hell and back, most of the time with my car, instead of going to the hospital like she should have been. Out partying, getting high-you get the picture. We got into a terrible row over this on morning when she still had not come home by the time I had gotten up and had to get ready to go to clinicals. She finally walked in 10 minutes before I was supposed to be on the floor, and when I lit into her she physically attacked me. You need to understand I've never been anyone to take crap off of other people and I popped her back. Ended up late for clinicals, good for having to do six articles, and angry as hell. Later she started dating someone who was fairly decent, not into drugs and she seemed to be getting her act together, though this boyfriend seemed to take more interest in the baby then she did. When the baby finally came home most of the time it was myself or my mom who would get up with him, eventually this caused problems as well. At what point does a mother take responsibility instead of relying on everyone around her?
Eventually she moved out with the boyfriend, it was shortly after that she had her first mental breakdown. For awhile the boyfriend, who was working and going to school, took care of the baby because my sister wanted it that way. But after time my parents got him because the boyfriend could not keep up. In the interest of trying to keep this short, this scenerio has repeated itself over and over again for 12 years now. Sometimes my nephew has lived with my mom, sometimes he has lived with me. Various boyfriends, sometimes we didn't know where my sister was, etc....She's been dx with multiple personalities, which I personally believe in bunk, been told she was sexually abused but simply didn't remember it-remember when that was the dx of the day? Of course after umpteen different sessions of hynposis she could recall being abused by our first step dad, something I have never and I mean never believed. Last year she decided that never happened and memories had been planted. OK then. Later she was diagnosed with bipolor disorder, which made more sense. She's been overmedicated, undermedicated, in the hospital more times than I can even recall. A couple years ago after another hospitalization they decided she was not bipolor but had a personality disorder. New meds, new Dr again. I can't even remember how many physicians she has been to. Everytime I think she is finally getting it together, it all blows up and it's a quick downhill and a hard, hard climb back.
So fast forward to this weekend. She has been living with the same guy 4 years now, they have had traumatic breakup's three times in those 4 years. I dislike this guy immensely, he also has some mental illness, though I've never know if it is bipolor or what. Personally I think he is simply a selfish pain in the ass, who is too lazy to get out of bed like normal people and work. He did finally go back to school, distance learning, to try to make something of himself. His moods swing from not only day to day but can be from hour to hour. For the last three years my nephew has lived with his mother, still many ups and downs though. 2 years ago she decided to move from where we all live( me and parents, no other siblings) to a larger town to have more opportunity she said. She has put me through the emotional wringer so much that I actually was glad to see her go. I just could not do it anymore. I have tried to stay away, not to interfere and hope maybe this time around she really will manage. Around summer time she started calling me alot again, just chatting, telling me things are going well, she wants to go back to school etc... by Thanksgiving though I just could feel things weren't always what she was telling me. Just could feel it, don't know how to explain it any other way. She didn't come here for Thanksgiving, opting to go to the boyfriends mother's house, who has many problems herself. She has hopped docs so much to get pain pills that she can't even get a doc where she is anymore and had to go to another town. They came for Christmas, and I knew there were problems. My nephew has his anger right there at the surface, every little thing sets him off, he got mean and physical with my 7 year old. Now my nephew is 12, but is only about the size of a 4th grader. He has managed to grow one inch since last year. He has always eaten very poorly, but it does not account for all of the small size. Finally, my sister has taken him to an endocrinologist, but I don't know where that is at right now. Anyway, he is in a much bigger school system, gets picked on terribly. Been locked in his locker, been put in the trash can, thrown into the wall several times, thrown into the soda machine, tripped as he's walking down the hallway every single day. With everything this kid has gone through it's pretty easy to see where his anger is coming from. A couple months ago he was seeing a therapist, I am unsure why it stopped. Anyway on Saturday my sister had come over here, I wasn't here I had gone into work because of a problem. I don't normally work weekends. I planned on having lunch with my son who is in college after I dealt with the problem at work and going home and later having a night out with my husband. My daughter called to tell me that my sister had wanted to know if my nephew could spend the night because he wanted to come over. When I called my sister at first I said no. There are behavioral issues with his temper and I just didn't want to deal with it. Then I thought about it more and decided maybe there was a reason he wanted to come over, it is rare he does anymore because I will not put up with the behavior like his mother will. So I went and picked him up, changed my plans with my husband so instead of having an entire evening, we had time for a movie and that was it. My hubby was ok with that feeling that there was something wrong too. When I got to her house she sat and told me that there was all this problems with my nephew in school that I already told you about, he was failing and the kid is bright, it's not that he can't do the work. He has missed the bus several times because he doesn't want to go to school. That threw a red flag for me because my sister doesn't work, she gets SSI. So does her boyfriend. So I ask her, aren't you up with him? Well, he's old enough to get himself off to school. You know maybe, if there weren't problems and issues with the kid. Maybe if he didn't have a maturity level much younger than his actual age, but considering that there is no reason not to get up with him except laziness than why expect him to get his own breakfast etc... and get himself on the bus? Then I ask about his homework. Is he having a hard time? Is he getting it done? Come to find out he's been out of school nearly a third of the year already for being "sick" he has asthma and sometimes he's just coughing too much. Could that has anything to do with the two pack a day smoking from both of the adults living in the house? Anyway I still didn't say much, because I've seen this scene too many times. She's sleeping the day away, not really taking care of her child. Then there is the boyfriend, who cut back his working hours as a telemarketer for God's sake, because otherwise his SSI was going to be cut. He can't manage to get out of bed before 1 in the afternoon. They are way behind on bills and I can't understand that. They have rent and utilites. No car payment, no big payments beyond rent. She borrowed $550 from me a couple weeks ago, more money that I'll never see back. She borrowed from our stepmom who my sister hasn't seen or nearly spoken to since my dad died 2 and a half years ago. And she's still behind. Anyway, I brought my nephew over here. Saturday goes well. Sunday afternoon he and my youngest got into it and my nephew just went off, I could not get him to quit yelling, I could not get through to him at all. Actually told him to shut up several times and he just kept on. It's like watching a time bomb go off. God forgive me but I lost my temper and smacked his mouth. It at least got his attention. I called my sister, told her what happened and she asked me, do you want me to come get him? I told her I thought it was best right now.
Once I got off the phone with her and my nephew was calmed down, I talked to him and said honey you can't behave this way. It causing problems for you and for everyone around you. There is a good way and a bad way to handle your anger. This opened a floodgate, and he cried and he cried. Then I cried. I watched this little boy is apparent utter distress and it just killed me. So I started to talking to him, what is going on? What is happening at school? And so on. There are issues at school, but it is not just that. The boyfriend, who calls my nephew his son but never manages to treat him as such, makes him so upset. He never knows how the boyfriend is going to be. Tells me things at his household depend on how grumpy or not that the boyfriend is. I have known this man for 4 years folks and I know how it is. I know that my nephew is not spinning a tale. We talked and talked, he has so much anger and frustration built up. Finally I tell my nephew, if you want to maybe it would be good for you to come here for awhile and let things get better situated at home. You need to really understand here that his mother relys on him for emotional support all the time, he is afraid of upsetting anyone or having anyone mad or upset at him especially his mother. But he sat there and told me he wanted to stay at my house.
It took my sister three hours to get over to my house, she lives an hour away. She comes flying in the house and says she has to go right away because the boyfriend is in the car and he is pissed. I'm on the phone with work because they had something come up that needed assistance. I tell her, hold up I have to talk to you, you don't understand what is happening here. I really have to press the issue. She's just all worried about the boyfriend who is feeling pissy. Finally I get her to sit down and listen to me. I explain how my nephew is feeling and honest to God this little boy stood there and told her he wanted to stay here. She cried, he cried, I cried. We talked about having him go back to school here, about how to get his stuff over here etc... the nearly hour she is at my house not once did the boyfriend come in, he sat the car in my driveway. I asked her to have him come in and she wouldn't. The upshot was that he was going to stay at my house, at least for a couple months until things could worked out better.
This morning I called her to tell her what needed to be done to transfer school records. She tells me that her son had called and he wants to come home. I'm thrown for a loop because she tells me that he had called and talked to the boyfriend for 25 minutes crying and bawling the whole time. I don't even know when this could have occured. I knew he had called her because she had told him that she was going to call and hadn't, so he wanted to call her. That was a five minute phone call. He hadn't cried, he hadn't told me he wanted to go home, he was with my 15 year old daughter when he called and did not say anything about going home. So instead of arguing with her I told her I would call her back. I talked to my nephew and asked what was going on? He tells me that he doesn't want his "parent's" to feel like bad parents. I consider that perfectly normal. Even very abused kids will try to protect their parents. So I called my mom and dad. Mom tells me boyfriend had called there last night and dad had advised him to just give things a bit of time. I asked my parents to come over. They did, we talked. We talked to my nephew and the upshot was that he really wanted to stay here but he does not want to make anyone feel bad. Call my sister back and beg her to just at least sit down with everyone and go over what is happening here. She hangs up on me. I wait a bit and call back, get the boyfriend who tells me he is going to get his "son" period. I tell him, well what am I going to do? It's not like I can actually just keep the boy, what time will you be here? I need to really talk to you guys. He growls out 5p. I'm supposed to work tonight as a fill in charge, so I call work and tell my boss very briefly what is going on and ask if they can possibly find coverage for the first 6 of the shift. He tells me he will try to cover the whole shift. My parents took my nephew so I could try to get a bit of sleep before having to work because I don't know if coverage can be found. They decide to take him to lunch and just let things be as normal as possible. I can't sleep, I'm too upset. So I'm just hanging out in my front room that is nearly all windows when I see my parents pull back in, about an hour and a half later. I know something is wrong or they would not be back. I go to the back door and there in my drive is the boyfriend, my dad is telling him he will get my nephew's things, not to go in the house. I can tell there is another person in the car but can't tell who. I ask my dad what is going on he tells me I will tell you inside. WELLLL, what had happened is that other person in the car is the boyfriends mother driving, my sister is in the back seat as well as my nephew. Seems my parents left the restarant and they are standing on the sidewalk with a POLICEMAN! Like I have kidnapped the kid and refused to give him back! I swear to God I lost my mind. I just simply lost it. My dad is trying to get me to just stay in the house, I literally pushed him out of the way. I'm not a big person. I got to my doorway and there is the boyfriend smirking. And I lost my mind worse. I started screaming, you called the cops? WTF for? Don't you give a damn about this kid? I believe I called him every filthy name I could remember and then some. I went out the door, in silky pajama's, a terry robe and slippers, 8 inches of snow and below zero wind chills. Of course the car doors are locked, and I'm screaming at my sister through the window, the boyfriends mother rolls down the passenger side window to inform me I should be in jail because I smacked my nephew in the mouth, I can't even remember all the filthy things I said to the dumb b***h and at the same time screaming at my sister, tell her how many times you've busted this boy's lips, how about the time I had to step between you and him because you were hitting him so much. And out the car she came and punched me in the mouth and the fight was on. She is taller and outweighs me by about 50-60 lbs but I was so freaking angry nothing mattered anymore. Imagine, I don't go around fighting with people, I am intelligent and articulate. But at that moment I simply could not handle anymore of the **** this girl has dished out. The inability to truly just put her child first for once. We are punching each other, rolling around in the snow, the boyfriend is trying to pull us apart, my parents are trying to pull us apart. My nephew is screaming and the boyfriend's mother is telling him don't worry grandma will make sure you don't have to go through this anymore. Dumb B***h is not his grandma, which my mother informs her of in the middle of all this. Bad, bad, bad scene you guys. Finally my dad gets through to me and I let her up, as I'm walking away she starts to try to punch me again and if my dad hadn't been quick it would have started all over again. Then the boyfriend gets in my face, you touch my girlfriend again and you'll deal with me! So I told him go ahead hit me, come on I want you to hit me. Tells me I will not see his "son" again, then jumps in the car. I'm screaming at him, your nothing, you have no legal rights to that boy at all, he maturely flips me off as mama dearest starts pulling out the drive.
I went in the house and called the cops. I had full intentions of charging her with assault. But the police officer explained that if I did she would immediately go to jail. That's the law in Michigan with domestic abuse. I won't expect anyone reading this to think, well I should never have gone out there to begin with, because I probably shouldn't have. But I'm telling you it was like I lost all sense of judgement, lost my mind. Not because she called the police on me, because I didn't have anything to fear, she had let him stay with me like he wanted. But because there was no need to do that and make a scene in front of my nephew. She has a total inability to consider this child's feelings and how something may impact on him. Over and over again I have pulled her ass out of problems, given her thousands of dollars, raised her child when she was not capable of even feeding herself or getting dressed. Took her to Hawaii along with my nephew when my family went because she had been born there. I've bought his cloths, I've made sure there was food in the house. Bought her a car. You name it and I've done it for her. And I just totally snapped.
The police officer suggested that I not act rashly and think exactly how I want to handle things. I told him as much as I've told you all. My ultimate concern is for my nephew. I no longer know what to do. Obviously seeing his mother and aunt beating the hell out of each other, rolling around in the snow didn't help a bit. The cop suggested I call CPS. I have no faith there. Absolutely none. Told him that. If you recall from the beginning of this post this is not the first time this has happened. Not even this second time. The second time was when we were living together because she couldn't afford a place of her own. My nephew was 4. She wanted to have a big damn party at the house for her birthday, when my kids had to get up and go to school the next day, and I had to be up at 4a to get ready for work. Told her no, do it on the weekend when kids aren't here and I'm not working. She grabbed me and choked me then and I was pregnant for my youngest child. Needless to say she moved out shortly after that, taking off to Pittsburgh with some guy she barely knew, who was 35 years older than her. 3 weeks later my dad is driving out there to get my nephew because she had landed in the hospital again. You see, I'm just at my wits end! I have gotten to the point I don't care what happens to her, that is cold and awful sounding but it is true. But I care deeply about my nephew. Part of me truly wants to put her in jail, part of me wants to walk away from the whole thing forever, nephew or not. Part of me wants to call CPS, even if I have very little faith anything will happen with that. Part of me wants to call the school counselor so at least the school knows what the hell is happening in his household and what happened today, but I also do not know if they'll talk to me.
So here I am hoping, that maybe just maybe, there is someone out there that has had to deal with a sibling with mental illness, or something like what has happened and what to do. I'm guessing that she hasn't called the police because no one has shown up on my door and it's quarter after nine at night. After all this, I thought what about my license? Technically she can call CPS because I smacked my nephew's mouth, even though she was told about it not 5 minutes later and she still left him in my care. I'm so overwrought and tired that I can't even cry anymore. I have never came to this board and laid my troubles out before, mostly because I live a sane, normal life anyway. But also because I have never in my life had a problem that I didn't know what to do and then simply did it and took care of it.
I know this is god awful long, but please just understand why.
Jan 27, '03
I feel for you so much. I went through a very similiar situation with my neice and it is physicially and emotionally draining. I know. She is now 24 and my sister has never seen the light. She only gotten worse. Steals from us... you name it but my neice is 24 , out of college... working on her Masters degree. married to a great guy and building her first house. She is great and well worth the hell I put up with. DHS was NO help. PM me if you ever need to. I will keep you in my thoughts. I don't have any words of wisdom , but I care.
I wasted a lot of time on my sister and should have given up on her long before I did. That's the only thing I'd do over.:kiss
Jan 27, '03
First of all take a deep breath...now take another one.
(I am taking a couple too)
OK..I have dealt with siblings that are nuts too.
Not quite as off the wall as your sister, but still neglectful in the raising of their children.
There are a couple of options as I see it:
1) You can call CPS and they will at least investigate the home and the situation. This will also tick her off and maybe she will keep your nephew from you even longer. Of course things dont look good for you being with your nephew now. CPS also may deem it necessary to remove the child and maybe the courts will intervene.
Option 2) You can walk away. This is real hard but an option none the less. Sometimes there is really nothing else you can do to help. With my own sister I have had to tell her that until I see her truly helping herself I will no longer be able to help her out financially or otherwise. I have reached the "you can cry for them but no longer live your life for them" mode. Let her know you will be there to help your nephew if she needs it but there will be signed gaurdian papers involved.
ok..breath again...once more....ahhh...
keep us posted.
Jan 28, '03
I won't give you advise.
I have had my own experiences with the "system" (involving a little girl whose Mom was a heroin addict) and would base my actions on those experiences.
Because of my own history I would:
1) Have her azz thrown in jail. The police were a bit negligent, they should have brought the boy your house to sort things out OR followed to make sure this didn't happen.
2) Go to (not call) CPS and file a report...his behaviors, your concerns, statements made by him and your sister and the AH.
3) Write EVERYTHING down now, when, who, what- from the begining (of this event).
4) WALK AWAY. Ask your family to be strong and walk away also. Your sister has several predictable pattern: she will end up hospitialized, she will call someone to beg money, she will dump her kid. When the time comes, offer to lighten her "load" by taking the boy in when she does agree take him immediately to the CPS office and tell them what is going on.
5) BE THERE if HE calls you. Tell him that you love him. Tell him that you care about what he is going thru. Tell him that you are there for him and want to help him BUT you can't help his egg donor anymore.
I am usually one of the biggest sweethearts in the world. But I am one of the cruelest people on the face of this earth if you give me your child to love and then hurt that child. WERE IT ME, knowing she has mental health issues...I would push her and push her hard until she snapped. Then slide in and snag the kid while she is hospitialized and go to CPS with him and have them place him with me. Then she would have to prove to them she should have him back (and he would have a say in it).
Jan 28, '03
I'll second Rusty's "wow."
I think you've gotten some good advice here, Helen. I would talk to the school, I would file a police report, I would talk to CPS. Even if nothing tangible happens this time, you will have started to establish a paper trail. Eventually patterns will become apparent. Because of the recurring nature of your sister's illness, she WILL fall apart at some point in the future. Like Nancy said, that might be the time to get your foot in the door. And I agree that you should make it clear to your nephew that you are always there as a sane, loving adult he can turn to.
What a tough situation. Whatever you decide, take care of yourself first. (((((((Helen))))))
Jan 28, '03
I don't have any advice that would help, but I am thinking about you and praying for you as well. I hope you are able to find some peace for yourself during all of this. You seem like a very caring and loving person, and sometimes that makes life unquestionably hard. Good Luck and I wish you well!!!!
Jan 28, '03
I don't really have any helpful advice for your situation, but I wanted to say that I really feel for you, your parents, and your poor nephew. Since these events were recent hopefully time will help you put some perspective on how to handle things.
I do think that you shouldn't call the police, because even though she hit you first, you fought back, and if you charge her, she can probably also charge you. Even though she was the attacker, it can be a big hassle for you and might even end up on your record.
It probably can't hurt to try to call the school and speak to someone there. If the child has missed so much school this year, there may already be (and should be) some concern on their part. I would think that even if they can't give you information because of confidentiality/liability reasons, they would at least hear you out so they can get a better take on his situation. Maybe the school will call for some intervention.
Unfortunately, this child is probably playing the parental role in his household, and worries about who will take care of his mom if he leaves. Although he probably wants out of that home, he most likely doesn't want to leave his mom there. At least he knows that you will be there for him if he needs you.
You have a lot of issues going on, and a lot of hard decisions to make. I hope that after your sister has some time to cool off maybe she will re-think things and agree to have him stay with you for a while. It sounds like boyfriend has a big influence on her decisions though.
I have some issues with my sister and 11 y/o nephew, although not nearly as bad as you have described. At this moment my sister is working, but told me tonight that she just got written up (again) for excessive absence, so don't know how much longer this job will last.
I truly hope that somehow, your nephew can get put in a better living situation. I wish you the best, and you will be in my thoughts.
Jan 28, '03
I guess the short version of my answer is to be there like a rock for your nephew, 24/7, and let him know that. But I don't think you are going to solve this family's problems, no matter what you do. On the other hand a child as responsible and caring as your nephew is sometimes just needs that one person he can depend on. Just knowing that he COULD move to your place and be welcome could make all the difference.
Jan 28, '03
I agree with calling CPS and filing charges. Your sister is an adult and can take care of herself. She made this mess. If she goes to jail, you would have a much better chance at being able to resuce your nephew from that hell for a few days even. CPS does move slowly, but it's worth a try. I would also try to contact the school counselor at the school he is currently attending. They probably won't be able to say much to you, but they can listen and make their own decisions...sometimes if schools call CPS things move a bit faster.
I am so sorry you are going through this situation. That poor child stuck in the middle...
Jan 28, '03
Originally posted by kids-r-fun
WERE IT ME, knowing she has mental health issues...I would push her and push her hard until she snapped. Then slide in and snag the kid while she is hospitialized and go to CPS with him and have them place him with me. Then she would have to prove to them she should have him back (and he would have a say in it).
i like the way you think!!!
Jan 28, '03
Check with your state's laws on domestic violence. If you press charges, it is possible that she can press charges on you in return. I'm in Alabama and that happened to a friend of mine whose ex-husband's new wife punched her. Now she's worried about getting her license.
Jan 28, '03
This is so incredibly not fair. My only comment/"advice" is that if you call the police and press charges for domestic violence - 1) yeah, you'd probably be arrested too, because you were both fighting, and 2) The call to CPS would look like you are being vindictive b/c of the fight.
I hope that your neph isn't more damaged from being exposed to this situation. Unfortunately, I know the feeling of frustration. Our family saw similar with my nieces, and there was nothing I could do to help. The oldest one has lost her children b/c of this same type of behavior, I have no idea where the middle one is, and the youngest still lives with my brother.
Nobody can be in total control ALL the time. I totally see why you went outside when your father told you to stay inside. He undoubtedly gave you the right advice... But you were trying to rest, you'd been dealing with this situation forever.
Thoughts, prayers, warm cyber hugs for you and your whole family.
Jan 28, '03
--ok, i'm no expert, but i think if your sister gets arrested, in your nephew's world, you may get the blame for having her arrested, and one possible result could be that your nephew's feelings for you might change.
That is his mother, after all. He might intellectually understand, he might emotionally love you as well, but the long and short of it is, that is his mom. And on some level, as emotinally immature as you describe him, he will probably also believe that somehow he caused the incident, and indirectly, any action arising from it. More guilt and self=hatred is not what this child needs.
I don't know what the answer is, truly....but i thought you should consider that possiblity as well, as i've seen that happen in families as well,
and I hope you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers--this is a terribly difficult situation...perhaps a little time, a little emotional distance....